Blogging is hard; there is no doubt about it. It’s even harder creating a successful blog as a whole. So don’t give up hope if your blog doesn’t seem to be doing what you need it to be doing because this isn’t a new concept. Seven years ago, Technorati projected that 95% of blogs were unsuccessful because of their authors neglecting them. How can we save our blogs from abandonment?
Aaron Orendorff for the Content Marketing Institute suggests five ways to help your blog survive when your initial blog fantasies turn out to be nightmares.
- Buy-in from your team
- Ideas for articles
- A content calendar to maintain consistency
- Optimization to ensure real-world ROIs
Having “rules” to follow when building your blog can be intimidating, but I am going to help you unpack each guideline to reach success with your blog.
The most fundamental component you need for writing a blog is receiving buy-in from your team. It is important that they are on board with the results or the amount of money that could be saved with the certain business activity you are planning to write about. You want to show them these exact numbers, not just an estimate, because when the numbers are slacking, so is business.
You also need to be in agreeance with what you’re writing about. In other words, internal buy-in. This means forming your blog around the ever-wonderful business ethos: it loves, core values, and driving principles. Playing to your team’s passions when assigning writing topics will help do this and help give each team member an individual voice within the blog. Successfully achieving this will be what forms the strong connection between the authors and the readers.
Coming up with ideas for blogs can be a rich and plentiful process, but it can also create an unbreakable writer’s block. One way to keep the ideas flowing is to, like I said above, play to your team’s passions. When your bloggers are able to write about topics that interest them, they will naturally be able to generate more ideas. However, this river of ideas can still run dry.
When this happens, don’t be afraid to take from other writer’s content. It’s free, and as seasoned marketers, we are always reading, watching, and/or listening to content that sparks our interest. Write it down and save those ideas for later. There are also numerous online resources to give your thinking process a boost. To name a few:
- Google Trends
Being organized is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business and that goes for operating a successful blog as well. Writing blogs allows a lot of creativity, but forming and sticking to a calendar will help keep things going. You’ll want to look at the year that lies ahead of your business and take notice to important dates like launches, events, and deadlines. That all calls for a blog.
Then determine how often you want to be posting blogs so it is consistent for your readers. A weekly or bi-weekly basis is suggested. After this, the ideas that you do have need to be assigned to your team members with specific deadlines.
The last step for making a content calendar is to pay attention to detail. The Content Marketing Institue offers an excellent checklist to get started with this. The key to creating a content calendar is to make it as visual as possible because it will be conceived as being less difficult to conquer and make it more likely for your team to stay with it.
With each entry on the calendar, there is a hefty list of things to consider including:
- Basic idea
- Preliminary titles
- Target audience
- Blog categories
- Author, editor
- Meaningful links
- Draft date, post date
- Promotion: email, syndication, and social media
- Call to action
With just starting your content calendar, you can keep it minimal with this list and work your way up.
The most obvious feature of a blog is its content so let’s talk about it. Readers need juicy content that they will want to engage not only their selves in but also share it with others. Marketing nowadays isn’t very traditional, and readers on the subject want to learn and discover what’s out there to make them the best marketer possible.
Finding unique content to write about is difficult, but once your idea is formed, you want to be as clear and concise as possible when writing. Draw your readers in by being compelling with your writing and by telling them right at the start what they should expect and what they will receive from reading your blog.
It’s easy to follow this process: tell your audience what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you’ve told them. It may seem redundant, but that is was your reader needs.
Test, test, test. Optimizing your blog is all about testing it in the real world of blogging so you can find out what works and you need to ditch. The two most important components for optimization and especially for beginner bloggers is the headline and call to action.
Testing your headlines can be a lot of trial and error, but it begins with having numerous possible headlines to work with. On Orendorff’s personal blog, he offers an excellent system to follow for crafting the perfect headlines. Another quality tool to help with generating titles is Portent Title Maker. All you have to do is give it a subject, and it spits out a headline. Or it will take an existing headline and improve it for you.
One more way to test out your headlines is to make them your subject lines in your email campaigns. Then you can compare the emails that are opened versus not opened and see which headlines did the trick.
Calls to action are also essential to the business world, and we all know that. However, they are vital to your blog as well. When starting your blog, you need to think about the end first. You need to clarify the goals of your blog and what the ending outcome or takeaway will be for your reader before you begin writing.
When planning your blog, on your newly created content calendar, coming up with one goal for each is key. Keeping it singular is important because the whole post needs to be easily related back to one idea or else your reader will be lost and disengage themselves.
So, before you go firing like a loose cannon into the world of blogging, take a step back to do some planning and organizing.The time you take to concentrate on buy-in, ideas, a content calendar, actual content, and optimization will be the ultimate pay off. You now have the knowledge to dominate the blogging world, now go out and do.